Here’s a great resource: your local library! Books are always a good thing. So much to be learned in a book, and the research supporting reading aloud to littles is undeniable.
“[T]he more adults read aloud to their children, the larger their vocabularies will grow and the more they will know and understand about the world and their place in it, assisting their cognitive development and perception.” (source, “The Importance of Reading to Your Children”)
Allow me to brag a little about our local library and all the fun, educational resources they work hard to provide for us (and we love to take advantage of!). I think we could attend a story time program every single day of the week if we wanted. They offer evening story time, bilingual story time (in English and Spanish), infant story time, toddler story time, preschool story time. Every week there are fun projects and activities: chess club, poetry readings, book sales, informational talks. Next week there’s a “drive in” movie showing where the kids will make their own little “cars” out of cardboard boxes before the movie starts. Once a month there’s a evening music concert/dance with local vendors selling their food and drinks right there inside the library. Such a fun family outing and community event! There’s a summer reading program and a winter reading program. We’ve regularly attended Lego Club (they even provide DUPLO for the little kids). Of course they have computers for playing educational games (funny story, Eddie is still learning how to use a computer mouse, maneuvering and clicking instead of navigating a touch screen). Last summer during the eclipse the Library hosted a viewing event in the parking lot and brought in local astronomers and telescopes. It’s a gold mine of free educational events and resources!
The children’s area has kid friendly modular furniture for finding a comfy spot to curl up with a book. They have bins of creativity-friendly toys like blocks and even a basket full of colored plastic cups, the kind you’d have on hand for a party, perfect for stacking, making patterns and pyramids.
We can spend hours there. And we do.
Xanderman is in full exploration mode: wandering around the shelves, pulling out books, climbing the furniture (thankfully it’s made for that!), dumping out bins of toys. But just having a welcoming place for kids to be kids is so important, even if he’s not ready for hours upon hours of uninterrupted reading.
Eddie, on the other hand, has fully reached the stage of discovering the world of books and wanting to hunt for new favorites on the shelves. He always wants to plop down and read them immediately (not always ideal at Xander’s current stage as he only needs .1 seconds left unattended to wander off). The library is the perfect place to find answers to the things Eddie’s currently trying to figure out: what exactly is gravity, why did the Titanic sink, where does one find dinosaur bones, what’s kimchi, who makes buildings. You name it, they probably have a book about it!
What better way to encourage exploration and curiosity, empower creativity and find positive entertainment? Go support these incredible public spaces! Get a library card and check out a bag of books to bring the fun home!